What is Search Engine Marketing?

  • SEM

SEMIt seems that we hear a lot of fancy terms and buzzwords these days. Clients may hear over and over again that things like SEO and SEM are important, but they may not even know what that means. While we agree that search engine optimization is important, we also believe that the client should have a basic understanding of what these things are. This way, they can feel better when they know that it’s being done right for them.

To take a step back, we’d like to go through both SEO and SEM, and explain just what exactly they are, and why they are important.

1. SEO – Search Engine Optimization is the practice of effecting a webpage’s visibility or ranking (in Google, for example) in search results through unpaid tactics. It is good to have a page with high ranking in search engines, because generally speaking, a page that appears higher in search results will receive more visitors.

A few basic SEO tactics consider how search engines work, and what terms people generally use to search for a topic. A website may then be “optimized” for search engines by editing it’s content to contain these keywords, editing the HTML and coding to contain these keywords, titling blog posts and updating with fresh content to increase visibility, and promoting the site with backlinks to other pages on the same website.

2. SEM – SEM is slightly different than SEO, in that it involves the practice of paid advertising to help increase a web pages’ visibility. Search engine marketing may involve the practice of using SEO tactics to increase a web pages visibility, but it will also involve other tactics such as pay per click advertising, where an advertiser will pay a publisher when their ad is clicked. The largest SEM vendors are Google Adwords and Bing Ads.

These two strategies often involve complex technology and in-depth tactics that cover a whole range of different scenarios, as a result, marketers and advertisers often rely on third parties to help them with both of these tactics, and ensure they are driving the most traffic to their website.